A Turkish court docket on Tuesday ignored calls to launch a businessman charged with searching for to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authorities, regardless of a ruling by Europe’s high rights physique.
Osman Kavala, a number one determine in Turkey’s civil society who has funded initiatives throughout the nation, has been in pre-trial detention since November 2017.
Turkish prosecutors accuse him and 15 different main figures in civil society of involvement in anti-Erdogan protests in 2013 and the failed coup in 2016.
Kavala, who appeared within the dock carrying a darkish jacket and a white shirt, dismissed the costs as “completely groundless”, in line with an AFP correspondent in court docket.
“The 657-page indictment… proves I am innocent rather than guilty,” he advised the court docket.
“I demand this unlawful and discriminatory practice that placed me in prison for two years come to an end,” he added.
The Turkish court docket in Silivri within the outskirts of Istanbul set the following listening to for January 28.
The crowd applauded Kavala as he was led from the courtroom, saluting his supporters.
– European court docket ruling –
Two weeks in the past, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) urged Turkey to “take every measure to put an end” to Kavala’s detention and “to secure his immediate release”.
In a damning ruling, the ECHR stated Kavala was being held “not only on acts that could not be reasonably considered as behaviour criminalised under domestic law” however which have been additionally protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.
Critics have denounced the costs as politically motivated and an instance of Turkey’s crackdown on civil society.
But Erdogan has accused Kavala of being a Turkish agent of US financier George Soros.
Turkish MPs from opposition events in addition to diplomats from international consulates and worldwide observers attended the Christmas Eve listening to in a present of solidarity.
Among them was Sergey Lagodinsky, chair of the European Parliament’s EU-Turkey Delegation.
Ankara had did not implement the European court docket’s ruling which had despatched “a very strong signal to the judges and the government in Turkey”, he advised AFP.
“I think for a country that has, in its constitution and its legal framing, European human rights standards as part of its legal DNA, this is a very disappointing outcome.”
– Police testimony –
Canan Kaftancioglu, head of the opposition CHP celebration in Istanbul, stated the rule of regulation was not functioning in Turkey.
“Kavala should not have remained in prison even one second after the European court’s ruling,” she advised AFP.
The court docket additionally heard testimonies from two law enforcement officials who have been on responsibility through the 2013 mass protests in Istanbul.
“In my personal opinion, Gezi was a protest that exceeded its purpose and caused serious damage,” stated one of many officers, Ercan Orhan Aydin.
The nationwide protests in 2013, which threw up one of many greatest challenges to Erdogan, then prime minister, have been sparked by the federal government plans to demolish Gezi park — the one inexperienced area within the centre of town.
But the police officer stated he didn’t know any of the defendants and was not conscious whether or not they have been concerned in any violent act on the time.
“I saw Osman Kavala here for the first time,” he stated, when requested by the defence lawyer.
A revered determine in mental circles, Kavala is chairman of the Anatolian Culture Foundation, which promotes human rights by means of artwork, together with with neighbouring Armenia, with which Turkey has no diplomatic ties